The Ithaca Police Department reports that on Friday around 3:39 p.m. officers were requested by a local mental health provider to locate a male subject and assist them with serving a mental health order — mandating that subject be transported to a local hospital.
Around that time, officers located the male in the lobby of a business in the 100 block of East Seneca Street. Officers say they attempted to speak with the subject, but he was disruptive and hostile toward them.
That same subject then repeatedly threatened to kill the police officers and continually begged the police officers to kill him. The officers attempted to secure the subject in handcuffs, to which he punched one officer in the face — and attacked the other causing them to tumble to the ground.
While on the ground officers instructed the subject to place his hands behind his back so he could be secured in custody. The subject did not, and continued to punch and kick the officers — asking them to kill him.
While attacking the officers the subject grabbed ahold of the butt of one of the officer’s handguns while it was in its holster and told the officers that they were going to have to kill him — or he was going to kill them.
Officers were able to secure the subject after several minutes of struggling with him.
Bangs Ambulance responded and transported the subject to a local hospital — and the two police officers were sent to a local hospital for injuries sustained during the attack.
The name of the subject is not being released as he has not been charged with a crime at this time. IPD says they are consulting with the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office on appropriate charges.
IPD Chief Tyler said, “It is no secret that police officers have a dangerous job. Officers have to prepare to effectively deal with the unknown and the unexpected, and to do so with professionalism and within the confines of the laws that govern use of force and subject control.”
“We never know when a simple everyday encounter with someone can turn into a life or death situation,” he continued. “Our officers are trained in a variety of tactics in order to protect ourselves and our citizens. In this extremely dangerous incident the dynamics quickly changed from a casual encounter to deciding whether to use deadly physical force after the offender repeatedly tried to grab the officer’s gun. Understanding the conditions as they were, the officers handled themselves professionally and were able to gain control, preventing a potentially tragic outcome. I’m very proud of their actions and I hope this incident promotes healthy discussions on how mental health issues impact law enforcement in our community.”
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.